To Endure, Endurance

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Endurance athletes are sick, mentally mind you, not physically.  Who in their right mind would impose such punishment on their bodies, on purpose?!  Ultra-marathons, Tough Mudders with electrocution on the course, Iron Man triathlons, obstacle races, multi-day team relay races and even circumnavigation of the globe as a solo-sailor.  The rise in popularity of these events shows that this sickness is spreading to pandemic levels, but who can blame them? The desire for humans to push the limit is nothing new.  Trace the lineage as far back as you would like; Pheidippides running to the city of Athens to alert the Greeks of victory in battle.  But as we all know, sadly, the Grecian courier and father of today’s modern Marathon expired upon reaching the finish.  Although this is a dramatic example, it is at the core of why ALINE Systems is in business.  Endurance athletes desire to do just that…Endure!  Against all proper thinking, against doctor’s orders and while ignoring all symptoms of pain and injury….Endure.

On the second weekend in November in Venice, FL the Rev3 70.3 Triathlon (www.rev3tri.com) took place.  This tri-skilled competition involves swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 miles, and then running a half marathon for 13.1 miles.  Enter Jeremy “Max” Fennell (www.maxfennell.net).  Max is a 26 year old triathlete.  He is aspiring to be the first U.S. African-American triathlete to receive his Pro card and make the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.  No pressure Max!! As a former soccer player and track athlete, Max was unaware of the sport of triathlon.  In just three years his rise through the ranks has been nothing less than meteoric landing himself on the podium 5 out of 8 races in 2013.  Along with this Cape Canaveral style ascent through the stratos of triathlon comes hours upon hours of training.  Swimming through the frigid, murky open water in suburban Philadelphia, cycling thru the famous Valley Forge Park and pounding the pavement thru all reaches of the Delaware Valley.  Oh, well hello Plantar Fasciitis; how do you do Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome;  nice to meet you Rotator Cuff, welcome to the party Hallux Valgus/Bunions.  While all of these overuse injuries may seem severe, they are ALL reversible and avoidable.  Improper and unsupportive footwear, unnatural surfaces and moving inefficiently and out of alignment are the cause…and ALINE is the cure!

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Above you will see Max’s ALINEment Evaluation and Analysis performed at the ALINEment Center on IMG Academy’s (imgacademy.com) campus.  We place the athlete’s in a static and dynamic position to illustrate basic movement patterns and functional biomechanics.  Through this evaluation we are able to identify mis-alignments, movement inefficiencies, muscular imbalance and improper patterns leaving the athlete at a higher chance for injury.

In the top 2 images, Max has extreme levels of arch collapse in both feet with excessive pronation patterns as shown by the medial malleoli (ankle bone) slamming into the middle post.  Follow the laser upwards and you will see valgus (knock-knee) knee patterns both statically and dynamically.  How does an athlete of his caliber generate such power and results from feet that more closely resemble powder skis then a strong, powerful, athletic foot?!

In row 2 we now do the same evaluation, but we place the athlete on top of ALINE Foot Suspension System Insoles. Notice the change in the bottom right image…neutral balance of the feet and ankles between the posts.  Knees tracking directly over the first and second toes with laser bisecting the tibial tuberosity and patella.  This is what will produce real balance and power without compensation.  This is ALINEment!!

The demographics tell the story of the endurance population in America.  On average, triathletes are from high socio-economic backgrounds with median incomes of $126,000.  Average age: 38, 59.6% Male, 39.5% Female.  52.9% of active population between the ages of 30-44.  49% report white-collar jobs while 19% report professional jobs such as doctor, lawyer or accountant.  These numbers are transferable across the entire endurance community; astronomically higher than our orthodox American sports. This begs the question…how do such smart people make such bad decisions about their physical, kinetic health? Type A, hardcharging, goal setting, company owners, and champions of the corporate world are now attempting to dominate the world of endurance only to wear themselves down to the bone, literally.  The same characteristics that has driven their professional success is also the source of their “itis”…tendonITIS, plantar fasciITIS, and arthrITIS!

As Max will soon find out ALINE Systems can bring you to the next level. Max has not made the Olympic Team.  He is not a pro.  On Sunday’s Rev3 70.3 Triathlon Max placed a disappointing 9th place in his age group.  On Monday, Max was introduced to ALINE.  2014 should be interesting…

Natural Motion in an Unnatural Situation

In a recent ESPN survey reported on barefootrunner.com, more than 1 in 3 Americans said that they’d be willing to try running barefoot. This attitude is part of growing awareness that shoes simply aren’t making our feet healthier, or our performance better. And a more recent study finds that many running shoes cause more joint strain than high heels. But let’s face, we all need to wear shoes, at least sometimes!

ALINE is the only insole product that places the foot into a barefoot-like position inside of shoes. There is growing evidence that going barefoot is beneficial for long term foot health and correct biomechanics. Humans evolved to run and walk on natural surfaces for millions of years. In just the past few hundred years, though, we have been forced to walk on hard floors, concrete and asphalt…not to mention wedging our feet into ski boots, cycle shoes, and workboots. We pound for miles in running shoes. We wear rigid cleats for soccer and football. We wear hard shoes with spikes to hit a golf ball further. We strap on power-levers (also known as “skis”) and put our feet in plastic shells for winter fun. All of these are foot destroyers…if the foot is left to fend for its self under these stresses.

Proper foot function is critical to sports (and life) performance. If your foot cannot move as it evolved to move, you can’t perform up to your potential. The foot is your foundation, your connection to the ground. For years, the answer for foot performance was to cushion it with foam, effectively placing your foundation on a pillow. The other approach was to wear footwear too small and crush or tape the foot to stop excess motion. This mentality treats the foot like a mechanical device that can be locked down to stop motion. This crushing of the foot also locks the foot muscles and lower leg function, often causing pain and long term injuries. When immobilized by shoes or tape, the foot can’t adjust, balance, and align your body for maximum power transfer to the legs.

Luckily there is now a perfect middle ground between going barefoot and wearing unhealthy, performance-robbing, footwear: ALINE’s patented BFAST technology. ALINE’s BFAST design places the foot into a barefoot position inside your shoes; ALINEs raise the heel slightly to shift weight to your forefoot, as if you aren’t wearing flat shoes. And, through its patented suspension zones, ALINE allows key bones in the foot to move properly…as they do when you walk barefoot. In other words, ALINE’s BFAST technology creates a natural interface within your footwear… regardless of sport or activity. This “Barefoot in Shoes™” position puts the foot in control of the footwear and the body. ALINEs enable the foot’s arches to naturally reshape, allowing the foot, ankle and knee to align themselves. A properly aligned foot and leg reduces injuries and improves your performance. That’s why you owe it to yourself to find out what ALINE can do for you!

Barefoot In Shoes ™

In a popular New York Times Magazine article this year, Adam Sternbergh makes the claim that “You Walk Wrong” It’s a fascinating article that we highly recommend. Sternbergh explains and sheds some light on the biomechanical issues that ALINE holds dear.

But there is a problem… Mr. Sternbergh, like many well-intentioned barefoot advocates, fails to notice the 500 lb. Sasquatch in the room: its name is PAVEMENT.

Feet have been evolving for 4-5 million years and are wonders of biomechanical engineering. They are well-suited for moving over the variable, natural terrain that humans encountered for 99.9999% of their evolution.

Start pounding those same feet on hard, flat asphalt (or marble, tile, concrete, wood, you name it), and they break down quickly. Most shoes only add to the problem, for the reasons discussed by Sternbergh. And just for kicks, throw in an adult foot that’s been severely compromised by years of abuse and is now expected to go run barefoot… on pavement. Disaster.

We started ALINE based on many decades of combined experience in sports and biomechanics, and we understand foot function better than most. What most people don’t realize is that the bottom of your foot is constantly in motion, conforming to natural terrain and aligning the body with every step. That action just doesn’t work well on pavement, and it’s disabled by most shoes.

ALINE’s goal is to provide an interface that allows the foot to move in a natural way, especially on the hard, flat surfaces where we live, work and play. First off, your ankle and knee alignment improves dramatically as soon as you stand on an ALINE. And once you start moving, ALINE’s BFAST suspension lets your foot move naturally no matter what terrain you’re on. In other words, you get barefoot function IN your shoes…all of the positive benefits, none of the negative.

Want proof? OK. ALINE athletes (who we don’t pay to wear our insoles!) have won over a dozen X-Games medals in various sports, three PGA Tour events, several mountain biking national championships, and much more. More importantly, we get love letters daily from average people who can’t thank us enough.

The bottom line? The shoe problems that lead people to go barefoot are very real. But for modern feet in the modern world, ALINE is just better than barefoot.

Nation’s #1 Running Shop Chooses ALINE

Dallas, TX – Shortly after accepting the award for Best Running Store in America for 2008, Bob Roncker of Bob Roncker’s Running Spot met with ALINE Systems to become one of the first running shops in the U.S. to carry ALINE – the world’s most advanced insole.

The alliance was formed at the Running Event in Dallas, TX, where Mr. Roncker took top honors among America’s running retailers. The next day, after reviewing ALINE’s state of the art fit system and suspension insoles, he made the decision to begin carrying the system at his three Cincinnati-area retail locations.

Both organizations are dedicated to enhancing health and athletic performance. Bob Roncker’s Running spot focuses on peak-quality products and fit services for runners, along with state-of-the art conditioning and training programs. ALINE Systems is the designer and producer of the “BFAST” foot suspension insole system, which allows natural lower leg alignment and a more balanced stride.

“Bob’s mission is to improve the performance and enjoyment of every runner that comes through his doors,” says Derek Carroll, president of ALINE, “And ALINE products allow the body to achieve optimal health and performance. It makes perfect sense that we work together on behalf of Bob’s customers.”

Bob Roncker’s Running Spot stores are based on providing unforgettable service by a knowledgeable and friendly staff. Whether you are a beginner or a veteran, our mandate is to meet your needs. This means providing the latest, best, and widest selection of products and services. For more information on Bob Roncker’s Running Spot, visit http://www.runningspot.com or call 800-490-6602.

The ALINE insole system benefits athletes of all abilities by optimizing their foot and lower leg alignment to stop excessive pronation and other misalignments. The laser-assisted “ALINER” device quickly and easily measures foot size and ankle/knee position. In just minutes, the athlete can see exactly where his or her alignment should be. And the ALINE suspension insoles allow this optimization to occur naturally. For more on ALINE, visit http://www.aline.com or call 800-736-9005.

Media Contact

Derek Carroll
ALINE Systems, Inc.
30 Doaks Lane
Marblehead, MA 01945
800-736-9005 ext. 111
derek@aline.com

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